LETTERS: Suppliers of local produce are not reliable
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RE: “There is need to promote locally produced goods” (The New Times, November 30).
There is also the issue of reliability of supply. Large industrial buyers are not interested in one-off purchases, but regular supplies in large volumes.
Many of our producers are small-scale and unable to guarantee large business customers the kind of large regular supplies of the produce they need. Purchasing from a large number of small producers who cannot guarantee those supplies at the required quality levels is both operationally-logistically demanding and stressful.
A possible solution might be assisting smaller producers organize themselves into marketing syndicates to be able to aggregate their produce to the needed bulks and to ensure reliable supplies. This is where support in terms of funding and expertise would come in handy from the Ministry of Trade, Industry and East African Community Affairs as well as Banque Rwandaise de Développement (BRD) and the Rwanda Agricultural Board (RAB).
Otherwise we shouldn’t blame for-profit institutions, such as large hotels, for taking commercial decisions aimed at ensuring the profitability of their businesses; they are not in the charity business.
Rather, it is up to government institutions concerned with the promotion of agricultural development and growth in internal trade to make it so easy for large customers to source locally that it would not make commercial sense to do otherwise. Growing business successfully doesn’t come easy; if it did everybody would be a successful businessperson. It requires being both brawny and brainy.